Important Immigration Documents

International Services

The process to immigrate to the US through either the H-1B or J-1 Scholar program can be complicated and require a number of important pieces of documentation.  It is a sound practice to familiarize yourself with the different types of documents you will need and make sure you have everything you need and all your documentation is up to date.

Below are some of the main documents you will encounter.


Your passport is the governing document of identity for all non-immigrants residing in the US.

You will want to keep track of your passport before, during, and after travel as you will need it to secure:

  • Entry into the US
  • Driver’s license/ID from the department of motor vehicles
  • Social security number from the Social Security Administration
  • Immigration benefits
  • Approval for national education tests

You should always be aware of the expiration date listed in your passport. Citizens of some countries may be denied boarding privileges or entry to the US if at the time of entry their passport is not valid for more than 6 months into the future. Please check your passport expiration dates before upcoming travel, to make sure your passport is dated at least 6 months into the future.

DS-2019 Form

The DS-2019 form is issued by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and serves as the primary document used to prove that you will be participating in the Medical Center's J-1 scholar program.

The document outlines your intended program of research/teaching and approximately how long you will be at the Medical Center. You will need it in order to make entry into the U.S.

Before leaving for the US, make sure that your Form DS-2019 is validated for travel by a representative from the Office of International Services. The signature is valid for one year from the date listed, and you can have this signed at any time.

Learn more about the DS-2019 form.

J-1 Visa Stamp

For scholars of all nationalities (excluding Canadians), you will be required to visit the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to apply for the J-1 visa stamp. This stamp will be placed in your passport and is your entry ticket into the U.S. Without a valid J-1 visa stamp, you will be unable to enter the U.S.

Learn more about the J-1 visa stamp.

I-94 Number and Card

You will be digitally assigned an I-94 admission number upon entry into the U.S. The primary purpose is to record your entry into the U.S. and dictate your nonimmigrant status.

If you enter through a land border or if you are held for secondary screening, you will receive a paper I-94 card. If this occurs, please take great care not to lose it.

Print it, and keep it with your passport. You will need to present the record to:

  • Apply for a driver’s license
  • Apply for a social security number
  • Open a bank account
  • Prove eligibility for employment

Learn more about the I-94 number and card.

Should you have any questions about what documents are needed to work at WFBMC, please contact Pamela Melton at